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Analyzing gender differences in cohesion levels and the impact of mentoring in the U.S. army

13 December 2013


Throughout the centuries cohesion has been studied for its positive impact on military personnel. Researchers have found it to be a protective factor that mitigates mental health symptoms. It is therefore important to assess the current environment in the Army to see if Soldiers are receiving the benefits from high cohesion levels and analyze ways to improve this protective factor. One method of increasing cohesion found in previous research is through the use of mentoring relationships. This study used a snow ball sampling method and assessed current levels of cohesion in the Army, any possible gender differences, and the added effects a mentor relationship has on reported cohesion levels. A sample size of 170 Soldiers completed an online survey that assessed cohesion, demographic information, and information on mentor relationships. Through means comparison tests it was found that for this sample there are no significant gender differences on reported cohesion levels and perceived barriers to mentor relationships. However, Soldiers' who report having a mentor did report significantly higher levels of cohesion than Soldiers without a mentor. Interestingly, when broken down into the female population alone, no significant differences were found on cohesion levels for those with and without a mentor. These findings appear in contrary to previous literature, which suggests a possible new cultural change in the Army, differing views on the benefits of mentors from female Soldiers, or a possible sampling bias in this study. Future research should focus on a more diverse sample as well as examining other Military branches.


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